Batten School obtains large gifts from donors
The Batten School revealed last week it had received eight large donations, including two $1 million gifts, as a result of recent fundraising efforts in conjunction with the school’s fifth anniversary this year.
A crowd of about 75 Batten faculty, alumni and current students gathered in the Garrett Hall Great Room to hear Batten School Dean Harry Harding reveal the donations Friday. He likened the gifts to fuel for a spaceship, saying they were “a remarkably generous vote of confidence in the successful launch of this new school,” according to a University release.
Jane Batten, the widow of the school’s founding benefactor, gave $1 million in unrestricted cash to fund three initiatives: student fellowships, global initiatives and the hiring of additional faculty. Former Rector John “Dubby” Wynne also pledged $1 million toward a $5 million fund for the school’s first endowed faculty chair in leadership. Wynne currently chairs the Batten School Board of Advisors.
The U.S. News and World Report ranked the Batten School for the first time this year — it earned the 46th spot among the nation’s top graduate public affairs programs. It was founded in 2007 from a $100 million gift from Frank Batten Sr., the former CEO and Chairman of Landmark Communications.
University President Teresa Sullivan complimented the gathered alumni on their “pioneering” confidence in enrolling in the school when it was first founded.
“You were the first students to enroll in the first new school created on Grounds since 1950,” Sullivan said. “You are our living endowment and your work as ambassadors will go to great lengths to secure a top-notch reputation for the school.”
The six other gifts include a $20,000 sum from Council of Foundations chair Jeffrey Walker to fund a Leadership Speaker series next year, and a $20,000 donation from Harding.
An anonymous donor on the Batten Board of Advisors committed $75,000 for the school to use in the next three years to offer courses about, and hire faculty who specialize in technology policy.
College alumnus Richard Billmire pledged $100,000 to support the school’s programs in Charlottesville and Washington that are designed to build up the school’s reputation for expertise. Batten Board member Brian Siegel obtained a total of $250,000 from Deloitte consulting partners and the foundation to offer scholarships for graduate students.